Everybody loved The Artist, it was sweet and entertaining, but there are a few more films invoking earlier cinematic styles that I’ve enjoyed just as much if not more. Let’s have a peek at these morsels of delight (I don’t know, it’s the meds).
1. The Saddest Music in the World. Guy Maddin tends to give all his films the look of the twenties or thirties, focusing particularly on German Expressionism. This is probably my favourite though because it’s very silly (intentionally) and Isabella Rossellini looks like she’s having a lot of fun.
It’s prohibition in America but Canada doesn’t need to worry about that (Guy Maddin is an enthusiastic Canadian). To advertise her company beer baron Isabella Rossellini decides to hold a contest to see which nation can play the saddest music in the world. An American takes part and proceeds to fill his songs with crass schmaltz and showy dances.
As a friend of mine said, it has all the enchantment of early cinema with modern daft humour, which is probably my favourite mix.
2. La Antena. An Argentinian film by Esteban Sapir, this heavily invokes directors like Fritz Lang and Luis Bunuel. It’s visually beautiful and enjoyable to watch, and is an interesting take on the subject of Fascism. An entire city has lost it’s voice, save for one woman and her son who she tries to keep a secret.
Apologies, couldn’t find a trailer with English subtitles:
3. Careful. Another offering from Guy Maddin, this is a little darker (though still silly of course) and tells the story of an Alpine village who must keep quiet to avoid the murderous and frequent avalanches.
This is two stories in one telling how isolation can lead to odd and incestuous thoughts. In the first it’s a son in love with his mother and the second a daughter with her father, although he appears to favour her sister. There are some very pretty touches, such as the coal miner’s candle helmet.
4. The Forbidden Zone. It’s probably the most out-there of all these offerings and is definitely not for children. There are one or two horrifically offensive things in it which I didn’t feel needed to be in there at all, but I’m not the film maker so what do I know eh?
However, this is essentially a live action Max Fleischer cartoon (of Betty Boop fame) and the songs are quite catchy, and the whole thing is so bizarre and odd and juvenile that you probably just need to let it wash over you. Directed by Richard Elfman, his brother Danny (you might know him) and his band Oingo Boingo did the music and pop up as the devil and his minions singing Minnie the Moocher. I think it’s at least entertainingly weird, and that’s probably all that matters.